IDTechEx Report Explores Sustainable Packaging Market 2023-2033: Driving Innovation and Solutions for Plastic Waste Pollution


In a recent market report titled “Sustainable Packaging Market 2023-2033” by IDTechEx, the focus is on exploring sustainable materials, leading players, and technology trends in the field.

The report provides a comprehensive forecast for the sustainable packaging market, segmented into 21 different materials. Within these materials, three key segments emerge as crucial drivers of sustainable packaging: mechanically recycled plastics, chemically recycled plastics, and bioplastics

Mechanically recycled plastics play a vital role in driving sustainability within the packaging sector. This recycling method, widely used for materials like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in products such as beverage bottles and detergent containers, reduces the need for virgin polymer production and minimizes the extraction of petroleum. It offers the best end-of-life option for plastics in terms of carbon footprint.

Recognizing the significance of mechanical recycling, stakeholders across the supply chain, including materials suppliers, recycling companies, packaging manufacturers, and multinationals, are actively working to increase the recycled content of plastic packaging. IDTechEx predicts that mechanical recycling will dominate as the primary source of sustainable plastics for packaging from 2023 to 2033. However, the report highlights several economic and technical challenges hindering the widespread usage of mechanically recycled plastics in sustainable packaging, including contamination, recycled material prices, and downcycling. Industry players are striving to overcome these obstacles.

In addressing the limitations of mechanical recycling, chemically recycled plastics present a promising alternative. Advanced recycling techniques, such as solvent extraction, pyrolysis, and depolymerization, transform used plastic waste into “new” virgin plastic, overcoming the problem of downcycling. Advanced recycling holds potential for processing mixed plastics, including polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are challenging to handle through mechanical recycling.

Acknowledging the advantages of chemically recycled plastics, materials suppliers and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies are investing in this field, with many of these plastics intended for sustainable packaging applications. However, chemical recycling faces economic, environmental, and ethical barriers that need to be addressed for widespread adoption. Despite these challenges, IDTechEx predicts that by 2030, chemical recycling will emerge as a notable contributor to the sustainable packaging market.

While recycling plays a crucial role in mitigating plastic waste, there is still a need for virgin feedstock to meet growing consumption, even if all plastic were 100% recycled. This is where bioplastics come into play. Derived from biobased feedstocks, bioplastics serve as a renewable alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. Major materials players and startups are actively exploring various biobased polymers such as biobased PET and PE, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), nanocellulose, and others for packaging applications. Additionally, non-wood plant fibers and mycelium, among other biobased materials, are gaining attention as circular packaging solutions. IDTechEx’s analysis of 95 startups operating in sustainable packaging identified over twenty different biobased materials that have received over US$4 billion in investment. With such significant market interest, bioplastics are expected to consistently contribute to decarbonization efforts.

See also : Melodea uses cellulose and creates a revolutionary sustainable packaging

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *